Preemptive Runs and the Offshore U.S. Dollar Money Market Funds Industry
In March 2020, U.S. dollar-denominated prime money market funds (MMFs) suffered heavy outflows as concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic increased in the United States and Europe. Investors redeemed their shares en masse not only from funds domiciled in the United States (“domestic”) but also from offshore funds. In this post, we use differences in the regulatory regimes of domestic and offshore funds to identify the impact of the redemption gates and liquidity fees recently introduced as part of MMF industry reforms in both the United States and Europe.
The minimum balance at risk: a proposal to mitigate the systemic risks posed by money market funds
This paper introduces a proposal for money market fund (MMF) reform that could mitigate systemic risks arising from these funds by protecting shareholders, such as retail investors, who do not redeem quickly from distressed funds. Our proposal would require that a small fraction of each MMF investor's recent balances, called the "minimum balance at risk" (MBR), be demarcated to absorb losses if the fund is liquidated. Most regular transactions in the fund would be unaffected, but redemptions of the MBR would be delayed for thirty days. A key feature of the proposal is that large redemptions ...
Liquidity Shocks, Dollar Funding Costs, and the Bank Lending Channel during the European Sovereign Crisis
This paper documents a new type of cross-border bank lending channel using a novel dataset on the balance sheets of U.S. branches of foreign banks and their syndicated loans. We show that: (1) The U.S. branches of euro-area banks suffered a liquidity shock in the form of reduced access to large time deposits during the European sovereign debt crisis in 2011. The shock was related to their euro-area affiliation rather than to country- or bank-specific characteristics. (2) The affected branches received additional funding from their parent banks, but not enough to offset the lost deposits. (3) ...
Money Market Fund Vulnerabilities: A Global Perspective
Money market funds (MMFs) are popular around the world, with over $9 trillion in assets under management globally. From their origins in the 1970s, MMFs have operated in a niche between the capital markets and the banking system, as investment funds that offer private money-like assets with features similar to those of bank deposits. Hence, they are vulnerable to runs that arise from liquidity transformation and from sudden changes in investor perceptions of the funds’ ability to serve as money-like assets. Since 2000, MMF runs have occurred in many countries and under many regulatory ...
Addressing the Economic Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Today, we’re witnessing the pandemic’s stark effects on public health. Meanwhile, the necessary response – social distancing – has stilled our strong economy, disrupting countless lives and livelihoods. It’s also been distorting the credit and liquidity flows that underpin our economy, threatening the greater pain of a full-blown financial crisis. Traditional economic models are challenged by this unique situation. To me, the most important factors are how well we avoid financial spillovers, and how effective the fiscal stimulus is, as well as the progression of COVID-19 infections. ...
The Transmission of Monetary Policy and the Sophistication of Money Market Fund Investors
In December 2015, the Federal Reserve tightened monetary policy for the first time in almost ten years and, over the following three years, it raised interest rates eight more times, increasing the target range for the federal funds rate from 0-25 basis points (bps) to 225-250 bps. To what extent are changes in the fed funds rate transmitted to cash investors, and are there differences in the pass-through between retail and institutional investors? In this post, we describe the impact of recent rate increases on the yield paid by money market funds (MMFs) to their investors and show that the ...
The Fed’s Balance Sheet Runoff and the ON RRP Facility
A 2017 Liberty Street Economics post described the balance sheet effects of the Federal Open Market Committee’s decision to cease reinvestments of maturing securities—that is, the mechanics of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet “runoff.” At the time, the overnight reverse repo (ON RRP) facility was fairly small (less than $200 billion for most of July 2017) and was not mentioned in the post for the sake of simplicity. Today, by contrast, take-up at the ON RRP facility is much larger (over $1.5 trillion for most of 2022). In this post, we update the earlier analysis and describe how ...
Shadow Insurance? Money Market Fund Investors and Bank Sponsorship
We argue that bank holding companies (BHCs) extend shadow insurance to the prime institutional money market funds (PI-MMFs) they sponsor and that PI-MMFs price this shadow insurance by charging investors significantly higher expense ratios and paying lower net yields. We provide evidence that after September 2008, expense ratios at BHC-sponsored PI-MMFs increased more than at non-BHC-sponsored PI-MMFs. Despite higher expense ratios, BHC-sponsored PI-MMFs did not experience larger redemptions than non-BHC-sponsored PI-MMFs. In addition, we show that expenses ratios increased with BHCs’ ...
Gates, Fees, and Preemptive Runs
We build a model of a financial intermediary, in the tradition of Diamond and Dybvig (1983), and show that allowing the intermediary to impose redemption fees or gates in a crisis--a form of suspension of convertibility--can lead to preemptive runs. In our model, a fraction of investors (depositors) can become informed about a shock to the return of the intermediary's assets. Later, the informed investors learn the realization of the shock and can choose their redemption behavior based on this information. We prove two results: First, there are situations in which informed investors would ...
COVID Response: The Money Market Mutual Fund Facility
In this article, we discuss the run on prime money market funds (MMFs) that occurred in March 2020, at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and describe the Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility (MMLF), which the Federal Reserve established in response to it. We show that the MMLF, like a similarly structured Federal Reserve facility established during the 2008 financial crisis, was an important tool in stemming investor outflows from MMFs and restoring calm in short-term funding markets. The usage of the facility was higher by funds that suffered larger outflows. After the facility’s ...